A new mental health awareness movement, The Happiness Project, launches as a collection of inspired offerings centered on issues facing the community with a focus on stressors affecting today’s youth. In collaboration with community members, partners, organizations, and businesses, The Happiness Project is led by Sheboygan North High School 2020 Valedictorian Madeline (Maddie) Green. The project inspired Green to collaborate with local community members and organizations including Mental Health America, Above & Beyond Children’s Museum, Jake’s Café Creative Community, and Sheboygan Area School District. The Happiness Project announces a series of corresponding programming and offerings at Above & Beyond Children’s Museum, within Sheboygan County and beyond with virtual initiatives.
“Everyone needs a reminder that there is happiness and light within each and every one of us . . . “
“Happiness is my passion. It is a lifestyle, a community and an inner foundation of all human kind,” said Green. “The Happiness Project movement is designed to change the often negative stigma surrounding mental health. Whether one is diagnosed with a mental disorder or just struggles with everyday life stressors, everyone needs a reminder that there is happiness and light within each and every one of us. Together we can help individuals find the beauty, light, and happiness within themselves.”
The Happiness Project is anchored by a large-scale three-story mural on the north wall of Above & Beyond Children’s Museum in downtown Sheboygan painted by local artist Jessica Rassel. Maddie and Jessica met and built a friendship at Yoga Teacher Training in 2018 at Yoga on the Lake at Destination Kohler. Jessica’s artwork promotes the joy of love and companionship such as that found in the world’s largest beloved mammals–the whale. The idea behind the imagery of these majestic creatures is to challenge youth to wonder and to think bigger, deeper, and wider in their pursuit of making the world a better happier place. The painting was recently completed on May 31.
“Public art is known to be beneficial in countless ways acting as a community anchor and a place-maker that creates a sense of belonging and can improve public health by prompting feelings of wonder and beauty,” said Jackie Erdman, Executive Director of Above & Beyond Children’s Museum. “This awe-inspiring mural is sure to instill happiness and positive emotions in passersby of all ages.”
The project continues beyond the walls of the museum with a variety of planned in-person and virtual offerings aligning with the overall theme of wellness. The ABCM Children’s Garden, the outdoor space adjacent to the mural, will host corresponding wellness programming including yoga, meditation, tai chi, health, and nourishment. Virtual programs and videos are set to be offered via YouTube and social media and as a frequent focus of Wellness Wednesdays programming. Additionally, businesses located along 8th Street are encouraged to decorate windows in ways that inspire happiness as part of Downtown Happiness Walk. “Buddy Benches,” themed handmade wooden benches with inspirational quotes placed at various Sheboygan Area School District Schools and throughout the city to encourage positive interactions and camaraderie, are another extension of The Happiness Project.
The Happiness Project Virtual Unveiling Ceremony